Levar Burton aka Geordi La Forge criticizes Star Trek 2009

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by serenitytrek1, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. KirkusOveractus

    KirkusOveractus Captain Captain

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    Don't you think the 2009 movie has any depth? To me, I see beyond the revenge story (which I grant you has the similarities the ones in the past had).

    I see a group of people coming together (Vulcans and Romulans) trying a radical, last-ditch effort to stop a world from being destroyed (Red Matter into a supernova). That attempt failed and it showed the price sometimes paid from that failure.

    I see someone who was, due to a timeline being diverted from what we knew, turned into a barhopping man with no real future into being made to see that he can be better than he is ("I dare you to do better.")

    There is a story there, too, beyond the revenge. It may be thought of as shallow and with not a lot of depth, but there are things there to be had beyond the revenge aspect.

    To me, it tells the story of someone who could strive to be better, and he's shown that he isn't a terminal drunk in Iowa, but has it in him to be a legend.
     
  2. Keeper

    Keeper Commodore Commodore

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    *Turnabout Intruder*
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yep. :techman:

    So there's at least two episodes of the original series that dealt with revenge.

    And Kirk is carrying a definite revenge vibe in The Conscience of the King, Obsession and during the Gorn ship chase in Arena.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  4. Franklin

    Franklin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Trek stories had themes, heck all stories are supposed to. But did they commonly use the story to explore the themes, or just use the theme as a vehicle for unfolding the story? There is a difference. Was TWOK just about an obsessed Khan or about the general concept of obsession? Is "Moby Dick" about an obsessed Ahab, or does it delve more deeply and obscurely into the concept of obsession?

    Was there any attempt to create sympathy for Khan? Was there an attempt to validate his obsession? Were we ever thinking we could've become like him in the same situation? Is he a tragic figure? Should we feel that perhaps his obsession and need for vengeance were justified? Bring these ideas up in the movie, and now one is being thought provoking. Otherwise, it's "Khan's really pissed off and he's going crazy trying to kill Kirk." That can drive a story, and it's a theme, but it's shallow.

    To be sure, in an action-adventure format, Trek at least tried to have themes within good stories with varying degrees of success. TOS certainly wasn't "Lost in Space". But a good episode of "Gunsmoke" was just as good thematically as a good episdoe of TOS did.

    To be sure, ST09 isn't "GI Joe", but its themes were just there, they weren't used to start a debate about nature-nurture or the effects of fate. They just helped move the story. And that's OK. No one wants to think about or debate the sides of deep issues with a box of popcorn in one hand and Raisinettes in the other.
     
  5. Keeper

    Keeper Commodore Commodore

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    Plus, though misplaced, the actions of Kang in Day Of The Dove were motivated by revenge for events he blamed Kirk for causing.
     
  6. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Okay, you're right. :bolian: I still stand by the rest of the post.
     
  7. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I see a character, in Kirk, who has never had to say "Sir" or follow a rule a day in his life. That's dangerous and if someone tried to do that in real life, they would end up dead.

    I see a character in Spock who is told that he shouldn't try and control his anger and he uses that anger as he's blowing up the Narada, taking Kirk aside when he offers a branch to Nero, etc.

    I see a character in Uhura, while stronger than in the Original Series, still manages to be defined by Spock, not making her a strong woman. Every time Spock goes to get out of the Captain's chair, she's running to the turbolift. Kirk's mother is stronger than that.

    I don't see anything that speaks to the human condition unless you believe there is some mystical force at play--destiny--and I don't think that's more than the stuff of fairy tales. This is a movie and in order to make these characters seem like the ones we left behind, they had to do a story about destiny. Or they would never be able to explain it away.
     
  8. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "Moral value" is not all that Trek should be. There is more going on than that. Trek IV operated on multiple levels. By that point Trek had built up a history, and pop culture in the 80s was reevaluating the hippie days. It takes about 20 years for society to really digest things and whether certain things were a passing fad or deserved a second look. That's why Trek was particularly important in the 80s, as with it came a sort of second-wind to 60s ideals in the otherwise right-leaning Reagan era.

    So Trek IV was very much an exploration of what relevance the 60s counter-culture had in the Reagan era, and the fact that it was a comedy was tipping its hat to the idea that wide-eyed idealism was not popular then. "Save the whales" had become a catch-phrase. THAT is why the plot revolves around the whales. The crew of the Enterprise were supposed to be from the future, but they were actually ambassadors of 60s counter-culture. Gene's utopian vision of a world without the need for money clashing with the need to pay bus fare.

    There's no way to judge the movie without understanding the era in which it was created. The same is true of Trek VI although the well it pulls from is more varied.

    A similar thing was going on, but less successful, in Superman Returns. It was meant to be a thought experiment about whether the world needs or is capable of believing in boy-scout style heroes in a cynical post-911 world. That's why it is so closely tied to the Donnerverse, because that represented an earlier, more innocent concept of the superhero vs. your Batman Begins style.

    Trek IV never singificantly altered the Trek vision to suit the era. However, it had to acknowledge that it was operating within a new cultural era. JJ Trek goes about it the other way, remaking Trek to be more fashionable to society as it is now, which is one that wants a thrill-ride and doesn't really want to think.
     
  9. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, think of the highest grossing movie of all time. AVATAR. That movie raises a debate about man's relation to nature. One can argue that people went into that movie just for the 3D spectacle, but James Cameron didn't seem to feel that raising issues was incongruent with box-office.

    Lord of the Rings has deep issues as well, not that dissimilar to Avatar in some respects, and that cleaned up at the box office.

    Then you have the Matrix movies, which at time, was thought-provoking, when they weren't otherwise beating you over the head with car chases.

    Alan Moore says that the role of the storyteller is not to give people what they want, but to give them what they need. It's a very pretentious way of looking at things, but it's true. The difference between a popcorn movie that you forget within minutes of leaving the theater (and I would classify Trek 09 as that) and a movie that sticks with you is the issues that it raises. You may not be consciously looking for that when you enter a movie, but when you look back on the movie and judge whether it was good or not, it's really those issues that stick with you that make the difference.
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Believe it or not, I actually agree with you for the most part.

    But I always knew that the first film was going to be a bit off kilter because of the things they were trying to accomplish coupled with a writers strike that kept them from making changes on the fly. I'm hoping the Into Darkness script got the polish that the first one didn't.

    But I did find Star Trek 2009 a fast-paced, entertaining movie which was the most important thing to me.
     
  11. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    I really feel like you're reading a lot into TVH that simply isn't there.

    The same 'still using money' bit is done in City on the Edge. It's not like it was brought in as some novelty. Even if I grant that your read of the film is correct (and I'm really not sure it is) I don't for a second believe that that played any role at all in the film's success. I'm pretty sure it was the aforementioned hi-jinks.

    The full significance of the "nuclear wessels" gag is likely lost on anyone who's unaware of the global political climate of the time. But all it is is a gag not packing quite the same punch as it did at the time, because times change.

    I'm really not seeing any thematic unity to the humour in the film beyond very standard fish-out-of-water tropes adapted to the fact that the crew are from the Trek future and are in then-present-day USA. What aspect of '60s idealism and/or its questionable relevance is explored by Scott and McCoy's wrangling the whale tank, for example? Or the hospital scene?

    And assuming the truth of your interpretation, what thematic resolution is achieved in the film's denouement? That Gillian agrees to come with them? She was already an overworked and underpaid marine biologist dedicated to saving the whales - what resolution is achieved by her coming to believe Kirk/accept the 'vision' of the '60s? How can that possibly be any kind of payoff?

    Whereas under my interpretation of the film, it's not trying to do or be anything other than good, silly fun, and so no such payoff is necessary. Gill makes a leap of faith in Kirk because she's nice, and we like nice people, so welcome to the future, Gillian. Roll credits.
    9/11 gets everywhere, sure. It's even possible to read ST09 through that lens - the greater militarism (or at least, greater military prowess) of the alternate reality's Federation, resulting as it does from Nero's destruction of the Kelvin can be read in light of post-9/11 US foreign policy. Nero's rage at Spock and the Federation can reflect jihadists' rhetoric about Western malfeasance in the ME prior to 9/11, etc.

    'Thinking' has never been popular among movie-going audiences. By and large, they prefer being made to feel something to being made to think about something. Rocky IV is as dumb as a sack of hammers, but at the time, it made people feel something. Casablanca's about as plausible as Days of Our Lives, but it succeeded - still succeeds - in making people feel for the characters. That - not thematic intricacy or strained political analogies - is what has typically determined the success of a movie.
     
  12. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Oh! Someone needs to take a picture of Janeway and Paris as salamanders and give it that caption.
     
  13. Kruezerman

    Kruezerman Commodore Commodore

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    Films in general are about taking us along on a trip to somewhere far away, be it Tatooine, the RMS Titanic, Pandora, or even the USS Enterprise. We watch these films hoping to connect with the story, we want to be there. That is not just good film making, that is good storytelling.

    2001 is supposedly THE smart movie, but I could hardly feel with the characters (honestly, I thought of it more as a visual event than a story) now 2010 I enjoyed more, I was a part of the story.

    Movies are stories, we want to be a part of that story, and with modern technology we can do that now. We have whole worlds for which we can escape to, that's the point.
     
  14. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Don't take this the wrong way but you've been talking about Star Trek non-stop for three years now.
     
  15. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No, just blatantly sexist. :bolian:

    Although in Code of Honor's defense, the aliens were never originally supposed to be portrayed by only black actors.
     
  16. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But they were.
     
  17. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    Code of Honour is a weak episode with some highly objectionable subtexts. Spock's Brain is Technicolor bullshit on Day-Glo stilts. I'd far rather watch the latter, but only because it's funnier in its awfulness.
     
  18. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    The fact that episode is focused on Tasha Yar means it already gets one strike against it!:lol:
     
  19. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's not either-or. Good fiction is able to keep us emotionally engaged, and upon more viewings or readings, themes and character arcs emerge.This is like saying: "I like how the French painting makes me feel when I look at it. Who cares what the artist was trying to say?"

    If you're not trying to convey some message in art, it's not worth it. I don't like my time wasted and that's what a movie is without it. I go to think first, be entertained second. I just want something deeper or at least different.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  20. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    I kind of feel like if you're looking to Hollywood movies for intellectual stimulation, you've got bigger problems than not liking ST09 or STID.